There are so many ways to make children’s drawings come to life. With this Play Invitation, glue tracings will stand out from the flat surface of the paper, creating a three-dimensional work.

This is a simple play invitation that challenges children to apply their motor skills by simultaneously drawing and squeezing.

Children can explore concepts such as movement, quantity, shape, relieve, and texture in a practical and fun way.

Child painting over dried glue creating a relief painting

What could lead us to this Play Invitation

  • Children have been exploring reliefs;
  • Children are curious about glue and its possibilities;
  • Children have been exploring drawing and drawing techniques;
  • Children are excited about squeezing bottles, toys, or food, for example.

Materials Needed

  • Cake watercolors
  • Bottled liquid glue
  • Watercolor paper
  • Brushes
  • Water
  • Hair dryer (optional)

Setting up this Play Invitation

  1. Cover your work area with newspaper or a plastic sheet.
  2. Adjust the glue caps to get a thin glue flow.
  3. Place the paper and the glue bottles within the child’s reach.
  4. Have a place to dry the artwork in a horizontal position so the glue doesn’t run.
  5. Prepare the watercolors with brushes and water for the last step on the following day.

    Tip: If you want to accelerate the drying process, use a hair dryer on a low setting.

How to create the collage

  1. Have the children draw using the glue bottle. They will work directly on the paper using glue. Do not pre-draw with a pencil, as it will show through the glue.
Child making a design with glue on paper

2. Let the glue drawings dry overnight. Or, speed up the process of drying using a hair dryer. (The glue will dry clear.)

3. Once the glue drawing is dry, offer watercolors for children to paint over it.

Final art project with watercolor paint over dried glue

Optional next step: Make relief prints using this work. Cover the drawing with aluminum foil and crease the relief with a blunt pencil. Apply ink with a brayer, place a sheet of paper on the top and rub using the hands to print the relief on the paper. Children can repeat the process and make as many as they’d like.

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity during this Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to test the materials and techniques. Offer the opportunity to practice controlling the glue bottle before moving to a final drawing.
  • Children have the right to draw whatever they feel like. Their drawing doesn’t have to be a stereotype drawing that we adults can easily identify.
  • Children have the right to choose what work they want to keep and what they want to toss away. Being comfortable and proud of our work is something we all need, and it contributes greatly to self-esteem and motivation to do our best.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • ART: Engage in exploration with materials and imagination, and apply creative ideas;
  • SOCIAL: Rebalance emotions like frustration when facing new challenges;
  • PHYSICAL: Develop hand and shoulder motor skills, and coordination of simultaneous actions;
  • SCIENCE: Dry and wet textures, different compositions of matter (paint and glue), and their reaction to paper and air.


  • Go for a texture relief hunt in your surroundings.
  • Use the same glue technique over rolling pins, apply ink, and use it to create paintings over pieces of paper.

Book Recommendation

A book that explores relief and texture as part of identity.